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Best Man to Die Hardcover – Jun 1969


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Hardcover, Jun 1969
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Long (Jun. 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0090975308
  • ISBN-13: 978-0090975303
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,977,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ruth Rendell has won many awards, including the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger for 1976's best crime novel with A Demon in My View; a second Edgar in 1984 from the Mystery Writers of America for the best short story, 'The New Girl Friend'; and a Gold Dagger award for Live Flesh in 1986. She was also the winner of the 1990 Sunday Times Literary award, as well as the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger. In 1996 she was awarded the CBE and in 1997 became a Life Peer.

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Review

"One of the best novelists writing today" -- P.D. James "Ruth Rendell has quite simply transformed the genre of crime writing. She displays her peerless skill in blending the mundane, commonplace aspects of life with the potent murky impulses of desire and greed, obsession and fear" Sunday Times "Rendell never fails to come up trumps, and her millions of admirers will eagerly consume this offering as they have all the others" The Irish Times "A firm grasp of social concerns ensure that her novels are reflective of our own times, as well as hugely absorbing" -- Louise Welsh The Times "This is Rendell on cracking form, with the entire accoutrements one expects from her" The Good Book Guide --This text refers to the Digital Download edition.

Book Description

The fourth book in the bestselling Detective Chief Inspector Wexford series. Perfect for both collectors and new fans of award-winning crime novelist Ruth Rendell.

Nothing is ever quite what it seems...

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Sellers on 8 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
The four stars are for the tale, not for the edition.

This is a classic Wexford murder mystery. Okay, so it's dated, but in a quaint, inoffensive way: note the fascination for novel technology such as a washing machine or a lift! I've said in another review that these new editions of the early Wexfords are very attractive: moody cover shots, nice larger-than-usual size, sturdy yet elegant little editions. Two gripes, though - the second more important than the first ...

First, I really don't like the bland strap-lines on the covers. This novel's is: "nothing is ever quite what it seems" ... banal, or what? Come on, PR department, make an effort!

Second, the book is full of typos. I lost count of the number of sentences that started with a lower-case letter. Words were jumbled: "on" instead of "no" and vice-versa. "May" was misspelled as "Mar" in one important passage - potentially very misleading in a detective story! And in another place, "she" has the "s" missing! - again, very confusing and pretty downright shoddy.

Overall, certainly worth a look, but proofreading would be appreciated ...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By C. Wildervanck on 23 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
It's as good as any Wexford story but first check if you don't have it already. It was first published in 1987, not in 2009 as the site more or less suggests.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback
...with my continual rantings on the brilliance of Ruth Rendell. In my quest to ascertain that every Ruth Rendell book here is reviewed, though, you'll be hearing more from me yet, I'm afraid.
As I'm lazy, I'm just going to copy out the official blurb (plus, I can't say it any better):
Jack Pertwee was getting married in the morning.
Charlie Hatton drove his lorry eleven hours down from Leeds just to be there. Charlie was Jack's best friend and he would be his best man. When the two parted at the Kingsbrook bridge, jack felt as though his life was just beginning. But for Charlie Hatton, life was about to end.
Detective Chief Inspector Wexford wondered why the fatal Fanshawe car accident kept upsetting his concentration on the Hatton murder. There couldn't be a connection. Fanshawe had been a wealthy stockbroker, Charlie Hatton a cocky little lorry driver with some illegal dealing.
But was it just a coincidence that Hatton had been killed on the day following that of Mrs Fanshawe's regaining consciousness?
On first read, several years ago when I was about 12, this book didn't strike me as one of the greatest Wexford's. On re-reading it, my estimation is much, much improved. The Best Man to Die is another excellent Wexford novel from Rendell's early period. It doesn't have the wonderful, vicious darkness of Wolf to the Slaughter or the unique quality of Some Lie or Some Die, but it remains a very very excellent and clever mystery that will likely confound even the most practiced of crime-fiction readers. It did me, even though I had read it before! I could remember, just about, who, but for the life of me I had no idea why, until Rendell revealed all in one of those excellent last-revelation chapters that she does so so well.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
'The Best Man To Die' was published in 1969 and is the fourth in the Wexford series. Wexford himself takes centre stage here for the first time and we get our first proper introductions to his (as yet nameless) wife and his daughter Sheila (already irritating). Rendell's portrayals of the working classes have been hitherto rather unsuccessful. In 'Wolf To The Slaughter' we had two charwomen and two lags, one of whom was even called 'Knobby'! Here she extends her range and although we are still in the realms of working men's clubs and avid socialists, her characters have more substance. Personally, I think she could have left out the rather embarrassing parallels between Jack & Charlie and Jonathan & David but otherwise, much better! As usual, the middle classes are better drawn and I especially like the gleefully malicious portrait of the unpleasant Mrs Fanshawe who really ought to be a character who has our sympathy given her circumstances!

So far, so good but for me, the problem with 'Best Man' is the plot itself. This was one of the few times where I felt slightly cheated. Its not that the identity of the killer is difficult to work out - I think most readers stand a fair chance of guessing it from about half way through when the private hospital is introduced, but this is one of the few times in a Rendell novel where we hardly get the know the person in question. That always feels like cheating to me. Anyway, not one of her best!
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Format: Paperback
The Inspector Wexford series are classics of Engliish detective fiction and if you have not enjoyed them yet, then I cannot recommend them too highly. Ruth Rendell writes with psychological depth and insight and the detective puzzles are adroitly woven into studies of contemporary British life and society. The only thing that spoils this series is the slipshod proof-reading; the publishers obviously could not be bothered to employ someone with an eye for a silly typo. Pity, and shame on Arrow Books!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By george on 29 Dec. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
the usual twist and turns you would expect from ruth rendell. a good read, and keeps you guessing who dun it
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